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Senior Guys Outdoor Sitting Poses

Avoid racism when posing senior clients.

Pretty obvious wouldn’t you say? But important to think about if you’re an old fat white guy without a lot of cultural diversity in your background. As I am.

We may be treading on thin ice here so hopefully, I can explain this in a politically correct way.

For starters, I guess this isn’t exactly a sitting pose; more standing-crouched.

I like crouched poses like this, but they don’t look good on everyone. Additionally, when I suggest a crouched pose, I find it very difficult to demonstrate. I can demonstrate sitting poses all day long. But apparently, my knees and legs don’t like to go halfway. They’re all or nothing units.

Consequently, I have to verbally explain how I want a senior guy to do this pose – which can be a challenge. For this pose typically I say something like, “You know, crouch down like a catcher but with one knee up.”

And most of the time they get what I’m looking for.

One summer a senior guy and I were up at the Plummer House and I asked him to crouch. Before I could explain any further he was down. And I very nearly laughed. Which would have been, besides embarrassing, racist.

The senior guy was of Southeast Asian descent. As I said, I don’t have a lot of cultural diversity in my background, but I’ve never seen anyone else crouch like Southeast Asian people often do. He had his knees together and his butt was almost touching the ground. I couldn’t do it if I tried. Or if I did I’d never get back up again.

As I said, I almost laughed and the next words out of my mouth were going to be, “Not like that.” Fortunately, sometimes the big guy upstairs takes pity on me and clamps my mouth shut at just the right time.

I was perplexed. Would his Mom and Dad think he didn’t look natural if he crouched like the two guys above? On the other hand, with high school kids being high school kids, and not wanting to be too different, would other kids – if they saw this image – think he looked .  .  .  .  .? I don’t know what. Southeast Asian? Would he think he looked .  .  .  .  .  different than other kids?

Maybe I’m overthinking this but it still comes to mind and it’s easily been ten years ago. The conundrum here is, it’s our job to help our clients look the best they possibly can. But who determines best?

If I was a senior portrait photographer in Southeast Asia and I asked a kid to pose in a crouch how would he pose? Probably like this guy had. But what if, as would be likely, the majority of my clients were Southeast Asian and I had a caucasian kid of European descent as a client? And I asked him to crouch.

I guess what I’m trying to say is; what looks good is a matter of opinion. My opinion and yours, of what “looks good” for a high school senior pose, may not be the opinion of your high school senior client.

Bottom line. Be open and accepting. Be interested in your clients, their lives, and their culture. Do pre-portrait consultations and ask them if there are ways they’d rather not be posed. Ask them if there’s a look they’re trying to achieve. Do that and you’ll be golden.


If you’re raising your hand because you have a question I can’t see you. But if you shoot me an email I’ll do my best to send you an answer post-haste.

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Outdoor Sitting Poses and Lighting – Videos & Articles

It has always been my opinion that the simpler the background the better. Which, granted, is not always possible with outdoor sitting portraits. In this post we’ll look at a few ideas for simple outdoor backgrounds and where to find them. CHECK IT OUT.

You’ll see lots of outdoor images on this website with green grass and trees as the background. You know what? Anyone can create a decent senior portrait in front of beautiful natural scenery. And everyone does. It’s what’s expected. It’s tried and true. It’s normal. Let’s try something different CHECK IT OUT RIGHT HERE


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